Sunday, April 7, 2013

False Praise

God is Absolutely Sovereign. Nothing occurs in His creation to surprise Him, neither does anything happen outside of His sanction.

“If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross daily and follow me.”

Deny "Aparneomi": Utterly reject, refuse to associate with. Repudiate. As Peter did to his Lord, three times, even with an oath.

To take up one’s cross: To spectacularly go to one’s death in a manner unmistakable for anything else. A one way trip of the condemned; they are not returning, and we are witnesses to this fact. The transom of the cross borne on the back of the condemned was a spectacle, making everyone an eye witness to that death as they passed in the street. He must visibly make a spectacle of himself.

It is not something that infiltrates a small portion of their life, or that one incorporates into the structure of their life. The person no longer associates with that structure and yields it up in living sacrifice. Everyone can see it. The whole life is laid down. It is visibly put to death. The action of going to your death must invade every portion of your life. What music we listen to, the books we read, our thoughts and conversations. It must go to the very seat of the mind, where the true warfare is, where the battlefield is. You don’t think the same thoughts. You don’t walk after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

Thoughts of the LORD, our reliance upon the Master must be complete. It is not that one stops reasoning, thinking, or feeling, you yield those thoughts and feelings up to the Master, in total. In all our ways, acknowledge Him. You know longer take on the attributes of yourself, you no longer associate with yourself.

These are the attributes of Steven Keith Fortt. He is selfish. He is vindictive. He has capacity for spectacular cruelty. He has a foul mouth. He has a rotten temper. If he was a planet,  this would only be his outer layer of atmosphere, get pulled in his gravity well and things get worse from there. He is a host of other things which must all be visibly put to death.

People who know me for those traits and for others, must look at me and see that such is no longer the case. They must see a situation where Steven with his rotten tempered, vindictive, selfish self, would have responded in *this* manner in *this* situation 10 times out of 10, but he didn’t, because that is not Steve anymore. Steven has laid his life down visibly. In the open. All can see the change, and it permeates everything. Every thought, word, and action.

He must also be worshiped in spirit and in truth, as it says in John 4:21-24

"Jesus told her, “Believe Me, woman, an hour is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You Samaritans worship what you do not know. We worship what we do know, because salvation is from the Jews. But an hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth. Yes, the Father wants such people to worship Him. God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth." (John 4-21-24)

How does this tie into what we remember as Palm Sunday?

When the Lord entered Jerusalem, and people shouted “Hosanna” to Him, laying down palm branches, giving honor to the Lord with their lips… but the evidence of their activities a matter of hours later showed that their hearts were, in fact, no where near Him.

“A very large crowd spread their robes on the road; others were cutting branches from the trees and spreading them on the road. Then the crowds who went ahead of Him and those who followed kept shouting:

Hosanna to the Son of David!

He who comes in the name of the Lord is the blessed One!

Hosanna in the highest heaven!”  --Matthew 21:8-9

This prophecy was from the book of Zechariah, chapter 9, verse 9, but it had more in that verse, which we will get to later.

Hōsanna” is a Greek transliteration of two Hebrew words, which together are an interjection which means “Save now, I pray!”

Mark 11:10 says, “The coming kingdom of our father David is blessed! Hosanna in the highest heaven!”

“When persons applied to the king for help, or for a redress of grievances, they used the word hosanna, or rather from the Hebrew הושיעה נא Hoshiah Na! Save now! or, Save, we beseech thee! - redress our grievances, and give us help from oppression!” –Adam Clarke

They wanted their grievances redressed. Their petition heard. Save us from this Roman yoke. Remove these usurpers and their taxes and restore us to dominance in the land. Return to us our past glory. No mention made of how the people, themselves, had caused the removal of the King and their own exile from the land. No mention made of their generations long disobedience to God, sacrificing their children to Molech, taking part in the worship of Ashtoreth and Baal, at one point in their history right in front of the Temple. Their way. Their fulfillment. Their happiness. Their freedom, to do as they please, how they please, when they please.

Saving their life. Not losing it for His sake, as this King they were praising had actually taught. That is the recurring theme. It should be very familiar, because it continues today.

They gave loud, open praise to a “King” of their own imagining, a “King” whose attributes they themselves had created. A “King” *they* wanted, no more than an idol, and when they discovered He was not what *they* wanted, those same folks were shouting “AWAY WITH HIM! CRUCIFY HIM! GIVE US BARABBAS!”

Bar-abbas  fit the image of the “King” they made. His very name means “son of the father”. *He* had wanted exactly what *they* wanted. He had led an insurrection, and was going to be crucified as punishment for his crime against Caesar. Now the crowd, egged on by the religious leaders, preferred *him* over the Son of David they were waving palm fronds at and shouting praise for.

False praise is not worshiping in spirit and in truth.

That is a commandment. Jesus spoke it out of His mouth in John 4; of how the Father must be worshiped. From the core of her being. With all that he is and has. To do less is to save our own lives, and to save our life, withhold it from Him, is to lose it. We must lose our *lives* for His sake in order to save it. There can be nothing left over. Nothing can be held over in reserve. The whole life given over. How else can we expect the Holy Spirit, which tolerates no sin, to dwell within us? The life must be given over, in totality.

It must also be in truth. Absolute Truth. Not something subjective, or that can be twisted and turned to what it absolutely IS. The definition, the label, can not be changed.

Spirit and truth.

God demands that, but that is not what He is being given. We heard in the church building, holding our palm fronds in our pews and wearing our finest, that this is what those people were doing and therefore so were we; truly praising Him, honoring Him, but they were not doing that. They had an expectation. Hosiah Na! Save us, now! They did not have the truth. Only what they wanted.

We might “praise the LORD” when we think He’s going to heal us, heal our loved ones, from sickness. We might offer our praise because we’re just so *happy* that He’s going to do what we want! But that is not praising God. That praise is to the thing we want Him to do for us being fulfilled. An idol being praised, the Creator relegated to the facilitator of the want fulfilled.


See, I’m supposed to be snookered into the idea that it is a fixed event, because I WANT IT, that my son is going to be recover the ability to speak. It is *going* to happen, so I should be praising God right NOW. God is GOING to do this. I am hearing it from every quarter, and I WANT to hear that. I WANT this to be true, you see. My father is saying it, my step-mother is saying it. Honestly, if that is true, it is wonderful.

But how messed UP would it be, if I cast *all* of my hope and faith and trust into the words of *men* that are hopeful of something, that God has not *said* will happen? Maybe God *did* say that to my father, and if so, GLORY TO GOD, but what if He did not? What if it’s wishful thinking on his part? What if that is all it boils down to, and my son is going to have difficulty communicating for as long as he is alive?

Praise the LORD anyhow. That is the answer. Thanks be to God.

That is the truth. God is going to do what God is going to do; it’s got nothing to do with something so worthless as what *I* want! If it pleases Him to allow my son to speak, He’s going to make it happen, Captain! He’s going to speak! And if it pleases the LORD that it must suffice him, *and* his parents, that he must struggle with communication in that way for the duration of his life, praise the LORD, in the same way, with the same fervor, because HE is GOD, and is alone worthy to be praised.

“This is why I tell you: Don’t worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Isn’t life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the sky: They don’t sow or reap or gather into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Aren’t you worth more than they? Can any of you add a single cubit to his height by worrying? And why do you worry about clothes? Learn how the wildflowers of the field grow: they don’t labor or spin thread. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was adorned like one of these! If that’s how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and thrown into the furnace tomorrow, won’t He do much more for you — you of little faith? So don’t worry, saying, ‘What will we eat? ’ or ‘What will we drink? ’ or ‘What will we wear? ’ For the idolaters eagerly seek all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you. Therefore don’t worry about tomorrow, because tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.“ (Matthew 6:25-34)

God saw fit for my son to be born to this earth and given to me and my wife, therefore it is OUR PLACE as his parents, his stewards, to love that child and give him everything which we as his stewards can provide for him; all the love, support, skill development, anything we can provide. *That* may be God’s purpose. *That* may be His pleasure and will.

Therefore it is *wrong* to act as though, “Oh yeah, He’s going to do it for me because THIS IS WHAT I WANT. Doesn’t God want that? I know *I* want that. Of *course* God wants him to be whole.” I’m *qualifying* God, then, according to *my* pleasure and will.

That’s presumption. That’s failure to obey the command to deny myself, because I want that boy to speak. I want him to be able to communicate just like his family and most of the people he will encounter in his life. I want him to be able to do that, but the fact of the matter is, that may not happen, and if it does, THANKS be to GOD, and if it does not, THANKS be to God.

We must be grateful for whatever circumstance He puts us in, because we are not to focus on that circumstance, but upon the Kingdom of God and His righteousness.

Once we do that, we must see every circumstance as a way to glorify Him.

There is a way to glorify the LORD in the midst of whatever our chief reason happens to be to seek His mercy and grace, if we would yield it over to Him, let the force of it drive us to the only place of safety, before His throne, at His feet. Whatever it is, it was not placed in our lives by any accident, but by a plan conceived and plotted out from start to finish while the earth was without form and void and darkness was over the face of the earth. Whatever it is! There is enormous comfort to be found in that if we would but take hold of it from before the Master’s feet. It is there, whatever it is, *for a reason*.

He already knows what we need. That is one of the lessons we learn in Scripture. He *knows* what we need. He knew us before we were formed in the womb. He knows the number of hairs on our heads in all stages of our lives. We are admonished not to even spend out time worrying over the basics of what we will eat and drink and how we will clothe ourselves, but to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all those things will be added to us.

What are they, these things we must seek first? Cyril spent a total of 4.5 hours covering this in practical terms a few years ago, and can be listened to in its entirety in the archived recordings of the Repairer’s Fellowship Blog Talk Radio show he did in January 2010. At the heart of the teaching is the following;

“Forgiveness and repentance are the balance point, if you will, the tight rope the Christian has to walk in order to maintain the Kingdom in your life. What do I mean? In order to maintain peace, in order to maintain joy, in order to maintain righteousness, your lifestyle should be one of forgiveness and repentance. As you walk through the earth, yes, you are going to be offended. Things are going to happen; people are going to say things and you are going to deal with situations in life, and the fact is that if you are able to walk in such a way that you maintain that balance, you’re going to do much better.” –Cyril T. Jermin.

But we don’t trust God enough to do that, and we suffer for it. Still, to this day, we don’t trust in the LORD, in His intimate knowledge of us from before we were born, and forsake our own understanding in lieu of His, and we *suffer* for it. We are completely unwilling to receive the answer God gave to His slave, Moses, when he implored Him to allow him to enter the promised land, “Let it suffice you.”…

…And comprehend praising Him for it afterward…

 We pursue the things we are told not to worry about, in our fear and mistrust of God, because that is not the answer we *wanted*!  Which brings us back to Jerusalem

The people that were shouting “Hosiah Na!” and waving palm branches were shouting, “Give us Barabbas! Away with Him! Crucify Him!” within the span of hours. Why? Because He was not the answer they *wanted*, nor did they even comprehend the question! He was not the solution to the problem as they saw it. They did not see being reconciled to God as their problem. They did not see the state of their souls as their problem. They saw the yoke of Rome. They saw the unjust taxation of the conqueror, perpetrated by members of their own community who had sold out to the imperial government and collected those taxes, like Matthew. They saw steady encroachment of their freedoms as Jews within the confines of Israel without noting where those freedoms had come from or why they had been removed. They saw a descendant of Esau, Herod the Great, placed in rulership over the descendants of Jacob.

They saw them*selves* as masters to be obeyed, in possession of wills and desires to be fulfilled. Slaves to no one but their own will, not His. *That* is the attitude that brings people from “Save us” to “Deliver Him to the most cruel death imaginable, and give us what comes closest to what we want. Sure, Barabbas is a convicted murderer, but he stands for what we wanted in the first place! We want him so badly, because he fits the mold of what *we want* so well, that we would have the blood of that innocent Man on our heads and the heads of our descendants, just to be satisfied RIGHT. NOW.”

False praise comes from false hearts, and given enough time, always reveals itself for what it is. In this case, it took hours.

Those praises were about what they wanted. That is false praise! False worship!

“Oh thank you, God, because You’re going to give me what I want!” We do that today, don’t we?

Don’t we?

Oh, but what happens when we *don’t* get what we want? ...when you don’t get the healing you want? ...when you don’t get the companion that you want?... when you don’t get that job you want? … when you don’t get the ability to look after your family the way you want? …you don’t get the body that you want? … you don’t get the bank account that you want? … you don’t get the house or the car that you want? … you don’t get the relationships that you want? YOU DON’T GET THE SENSE OF FULFILLMENT THAT *YOU* WANT, WHAT HAPPENS THEN?

What thanks do you give to God then??

“Then Job stood up, tore his robe, and shaved his head. He fell to the ground and worshiped, saying:

Naked I came from my mother’s womb,

And naked I will leave this life.

The LORD gives, and the LORD takes away.

Praise the name of Yahweh.

Throughout all this Job did not sin or blame God for anything.”

(Job 1:20-22)

That is the worst possible scenario, isn’t it? Job had just gotten the news that he had lost all of his wealth, and all of his children were dead. Even in the worst case scenario, the answer is still, “Praise the LORD, anyhow.”

That is full acknowledgement. Anything I have comes from You, God. All things that I have are of You. If I have anything that is good or of worth, it comes from You. All good things. The ability to get up out of my bed, the ability to breathe in and out, to use my faculties, comes from You. Without You there are no faculties, no breath of life. My heart is a dead muscle without You. I have no wife or children without You.

Without You, LORD God, I have no Steven Fortt Jr. He is a good boy. He is teachable. Gentle. There is so much to be thankful for right NOW.

Thank You, LORD, for giving me this child. Thank You for giving me stewardship of him. Thank You for this merciful way of *forcing* me to depend solely upon You, LORD God! I *MUST* depend upon You! I *CAN’T do* this of my own power! I can NOT be the father that boy needs without You! I *must* depend upon You! I *must*! That is a *merciful* way to bond me to Him! There are far more harsh ways to be bound to God, where the agony is so great you can only look forward to death in Him! I give thanks NOW, lest a worse thing come upon me, or upon *him*, or upon any of those that I love.

And if it does, praise the LORD, because there is no other hope, there is no other life, without Him. There is nothing apart from God that is of any worth. There is nothing in me that is good, that is of any worth, and still the Master subjected himself to *this*… the Master went into the city of Jerusalem and endured *this* false praise, from these people that were going to be shouting for Him to be *crucified* in just a matter of hours…

“Hosiah Na! Glory to the Son of David!” They were going to be shouting for Him to die. “Give us the criminal. Away with Him! In fact, when you balk at me because you don’t want to just do what we said because He is innocent of *any* wrong doing, when you tell me that to my *face*, I am so belligerent, so stupefied by my own disappointed expectations, that I will call destruction upon my own head and the heads of my own children. That such a statement is a complete leave-taking of one’s senses is irrelevant! The payment for His innocent blood should not be just on my head but on those of our kids! Let us all pay the price!”

That was the brand of rejection our Master was given to endure. That was the culmination of it. He had been suffering rejection from the 4th Chapter of Luke on; when he spoke in His home synagogue in Nazareth, told the people assembled that He was the fulfillment of the scripture He had just read, that because *they* would not accept Him, there would be others that would, and that incensed them to such anger that they drove Him out of Nazareth and tried to throw Him from a nearby cliff. They rejected Him then. Denied Him, then.

His rejection *began* then. He endured *years* of false praise, from that moment onward, throughout His ministry, all *kinds of falsehood.

He had to put up with, “Rabbi, when did You get here?” and “What can we do to perform the works of God?” and, “What sign then are You going to do so we may see and believe You? What are You going to perform?”

He dealt with them.

He dealt with those false people, seeking to gain from Him, seeking to obtain what they *wanted* from Him. Their spirits were not contrite, their hearts were not broken, they were very much intact, and they just *wanted*. Intact and whole, and wanting what they wanted from Him, with no acknowledgement of what they truly *needed* from Him.

What did Jesus say to them in John 6:53? “I assure you: Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you do not have life in yourselves.”

What? Ugh, man, He put them off their appetite real fast with that stuff. “This teaching is hard!” They said. “Who can accept it?”

All kinds of people stopped following Him after that. Stopped hounding Him for what they *wanted* when He spoke the truth about what they *needed*. We have to want Him! We’ve got to consume Him! He is the sacrifice; we’ve got to vest our lives, in totality, in abandonment of our selves and our *wants* to Him, so that His flesh and His blood may stand in the gap for us. He has taken the full force of the very wrath of His Father for our sin, and we’re talking about a wrath… that in one glance at the Book of Revelation… we see it will render this planet uninhabitable when it is poured out upon the Earth.

I mean, I want Steve to speak with all my heart, but I don’t know what the LORD has planned for Him. All these folk offering their ideas, my father telling me that the LORD spoke into his spirit and said to him, when he saw a young man who did not speak his first word before the age of 3 preaching to the congregation, “You see Stevie?” Okay, listen, I’m not going to deny that. Thank You, LORD, that allows me some hope, but I can’t cling to that like that’s all there is. The LORD told *you*. That’s wonderful. I’m his Daddy, and I’m here every single day. When he wakes up, when he goes to sleep, I’m there. The LORD is going to tell *me* and make clear to *me what is going to happen in that boy’s life. If He said it to you, Dad—“You see Stevie?” hey, that’s okay. Thank You, LORD God. I sure would like to hear that. Maybe the conveyance of it through my Dad is the way I am going to hear it before being witness to it… I can wrap myself into a knot over it from every angle.

The fact is, the LORD is going to do what the LORD is going to do in His life. *I* want to be like the centurion in the beginning of Luke 7, man. The people all around told Jesus that the man was worthy of help from Him because of what he had done for *them*, but the centurion knew better. Starting at verse 6, it says;

“Jesus went with them, and when He was not far from the house, the centurion sent friends to tell Him, “Lord, don’t trouble Yourself, since I am not worthy to have You come under my roof. That is why I didn’t even consider myself worthy to come to You. But say the word, and my servant will be cured.”  (Luke 7:6-7)

Just say the word, and I *know* my son will speak! I understand authority, LORD God. And I know You have all of it. YOU said, let there be light, let there be separation between sky and sea. You speak it, it happens. That’s what I KNOW about my son. God’s will is GOING to be done. There is no, “Well, you know, God would have preferred this, but we have to settle instead for—“ No. No! God’s will is done. It is already done. What He has planned for Stevie may blow my head clean off. It might leave a brother with a flip-top head, straight up. God’s will, WILL be done. All glory, majesty, dominion and power belong to Him!

I can not go BELIEVING after something that I WANT. WE can not afford to do that. That is not sound teaching. “Believe what *you* want.” Is what the church in America teaches. That is how it has become a self help lesson. Believe what you want, believe that you will receive the desire of your heart.


What the Bible shows us is that when the desires of your heart do not happen, that when in fact calamity and disaster falls upon you, you cling to God! You cling to the only source of life, the only source of that thing which was taken away from you, the source of everything good, everything worthwhile, including the breath we take in and out and take for granted—He is the One Who gave it, and knows the length of time we will have it.

THAT is where our faith and trust must be. Not in these things that we *want* coming to pass, not in the fulfillment of our dreams. Our faith must be IN HIM! In the One Who laid down His *life* for us! Who took all this mockery and endures it to this DAY. Palm fronds and jingle bells are not true praise and worship in spirit and truth, it is *FALSE*.


That is it in a nutshell right there.

Pray for people, yes, but pray like you know your place. Please help this person, please heal this person. Please, may it please You, because it is not about me at all. It is not about me and my petition, it is about You, LORD God. You could have abandoned me to my corruption long ago, but You saw fit, for Your reasons, because it *pleased You* to give me a heart that hungers for You… that is His motivation for what He does, down to the crushing and bruising of His beloved Son, being subjected to this ongoing mockery. Today. He was not just mocked in Jerusalem on the day He entered it to the shouts of palm branch waving people, He is mocked to *this* day, by people going to Him for what THEY WANT from Him. Not worshiping Him because they are grateful to Him for what He has done. Because You loved us first, LORD God! You loved *me*…while I was yet in loved *me*? While I was yet a sinner you loved me?

THAT’S WHY YOU WORSHIP the LORD God. *There’s* your motivation. Don’t go to Him because of the thing you want, or the hole in your heart, the thing you wish you had but you just don’t have. “LORD, if You would just give this to me I would be so happy…” is not taken to His feet as the motivation, go to Him because HE ALONE IS WORTHY. *We* are worthy ONLY of death, yet He loved us, while we were sinners. O God, glory to Your Name!

This can not happen while we are wrapped up in what we want like that crowd was. To follow Jesus we must, by His own words, deny ourselves and take up our cross. We’re going to suffer for that, because it places us diametrically opposed with the world.

The world teaches us that we are to do the exact opposite of what Jesus teaches that we, His slaves, must do to be His followers.

The world says “Fulfill yourself.”

Jesus says, “Deny yourself.”

Have nothing to do with your self. Refuse to associate with your self. I don’t know that dude. I don’t know her anymore. Look man, what did I say? I don’t know him. Don’t ask me that again.

“Hey, man. You…You know Steve? You remember Steve, don’t you?”

“Man, I don’t know that dude!”

“You’re Steve, ain’t you. You’re Steve. Aren’t you Steve? Your accent gives you away! You’re Steve.”

“What’d I just say?? Don’t make me have to smack you in the mouth! I don’t know him!! Him and his tendencies. Him and his selfishness. All of his ways, man, I don’t know him. I completely reject what he is and what he stands for. I don’t know him, I deny him.”

You do those things, and the world says, “Why are you doing that?” and you say, “Man, because my Master said so.” “Your Maste- WHAT??” You’re going to get rejected. And because of what it will both cause you to do, and the things it will cause you *not* to do anymore… “I don’t listen to that anymore. I don’t watch that anymore. I don’t associate with them anymore. I don’t do those things anymore. EVERYBODY else does it, but now, I don’t do it anymore. I don’t celebrate Halloween anymore. The LORD demands worship in spirit and truth, therefore I don’t celebrate Christmas, the Christ Mass, anymore. You do those things, and you will suffer. You will suffer rejection from people who call themselves “Christians” *first*. They will be the *first* ones to bring suffering to you, because you will have pricked them the hardest with the truth. The frauds will be pricked and ANGERED, severely angered, that’s what happened to the Master in Luke 4. All those who held their religion in high esteem, who did all these things and followed all these different rules but their hearts were far from the LORD, they took pride in their worship and pride in the practices they performed. Pride in their traditions. Jesus came right at those people, and called them hypocrites, called them whitewashed tombs, the worst imaginable insult to deliver to a people who knew that being labeled a walking tomb filled with corpses is tantamount to being damned. That was not kind, that was not looking out for their feelings to try to win them over. He infuriated them, and they wanted Him to die for it.

Some folks who used to smile with you and marvel at you will realize what you have done, and will want to see you come to destruction, at the very least to fail, because deep down inside they have been pricked by their conscience. I’m supposed to be doing this… this is what the Bible says… how *dare* you force me to look at my SELF?? How dare you challenge MY self image by doing this thing??” And they will come right for your throat. They’ll come for you. Say some of the nastiest things, give you some of the most heinous labels. You are hateful, Judgmental. Dogmatic. Legalistic. Unloving. All kinds of names. And that is *just* character assassination. That is *just* rejection from people that are dear to you. People who mean a lot to you. Some of them will share DNA with you.

He came not to bring peace, but a sword. The sword is the Truth, and the Truth divides. Son against father. Mother against daughter. Children against parents.

Jesus said “a man’s enemies will be within his own household.” You start doing what He says, that’s what’s going to happen. You’re going to suffer for it. You’re not going to be fulfilled in your dreams, your dreams are going to be dashed to the four winds. That’s why we need to deny our selves and visibly go to our deaths, because we are going to suffer rejection and loss.

You’re going to suffer rejection from people you’ve known all your life. Folk you have deep down cared for and loved are going to look at you, and *spit* in your direction. And your heart is going to be broken. And if God is merciful to you, you will not be hurt so much as grieve for them, fall on your face and cry for mercy for them, because there is no difference between you and that person who has spit on you accept for God’s merciful choice. No difference between those of us who hear His voice and those who utterly reject Him accept God’s choice. We won’t be focused on the hurt, but focused on the heart. Not the pain and the loneliness that comes from being severed from people you have fellowshipped with, but on the overwhelming sovereignty of God stamped upon the entire experience. It surprised, shocked and hurt us to our core, but God knew it would happen from the very beginning.

Have mercy LORD God. Have mercy. If there is some way that You would see fit to use me, please don’t let this person be abandoned. Have mercy, LORD.

You see, those people shouting Hosiah Na, were being used to fulfill prophecy. Prophecy was being fulfilled by these false praises.

“Rejoice greatly, Daughter Zion!

Shout in triumph, Daughter Jerusalem!
Look, your King is coming to you;

He is righteous and victorious,

Humble and riding on a donkey,

On a colt, the foal of a donkey.”

(Zechariah 9:9)

The triumphant shouts and joyful praise was not truly in their hearts, but they were used nonetheless to fulfill the prophecy.

We should be terrified when we are being used by God, and that terror should immediately drive us to His feet for mercy, that it would please Him to make our lives into lives which are pleasing to Him. You can receive a gift and be an object lesson. You can have a gift to speak and move hearts with your words, to sing like a bard with the voice of an angel, and be an object lesson. That is very terrifying to me on a personal level. You can be used to speak words of prophecy as King Saul of Israel was. You can be used as those people gathering for the Passover were used to shout praises to a king of their own imaginings. They spoke words which were not in their hearts. What was in their hearts was not worship of the Son of God, but to what their idea of Jesus was, what *they* thought they were welcoming into the city, the King, the return to glory… a glory which God gave to the nation of Israel for their obedience to Him, and which He removed for their disobedience to Him.

Then they said, Away with Him, let His blood be on our own heads, and it is *precisely* what happened to them.

We must not allow that to be us.

We must repent of our sin of idolatry to our own wants, and our worship of a God of our own creation rather than of the True and Living God who created us. He must repent and ask for forgiveness, and worship the LORD *ONLY* in spirit and in truth.

There was a man known as “Josephus”, born in Jerusalem in 37 AD as Yosef ben Matityahu. He fought against the Romans in the First Jewish-Roman War and surrendered to General Vespasian in 67, whereupon he claimed that Vespasian would become the next Emperor of Rome. Vespasian liked the sound of that and kept Yosef around as both a hostage and an interpreter, and, because his words came true and Vespasian was recalled to Rome to become Emperor, Yosef was given his freedom, granted Roman citizenship, and became interpreter, advisor, and friend to Vespasian’s son, Titus, who was given responsibility to end the Judean rebellion in place of his father.

Due to this, Josephus was able to give firsthand account to the unbelievable suffering that fell upon Jerusalem not 40 years after folks were shouting, “Let his blood be upon us and upon our children!”

Jerusalem was a strong, very defensible city, so Titus had his armies dig a trench right outside of Jerusalem’s walls, and opposite that trench, they erected another wall that was higher than the walls of the city, and waited for the food to run out. Anyone who fled the city was caught in the trench and crucified upon the Roman wall, facing Jerusalem. At one point there were as many crucified as 500 in a single day. The Romans crucified so many of them that they both ran out of crosses and places to mount them. He claimed that there were over 1 million inhabitants of Jerusalem when the Siege began, and they all died. The claim that there was so much blood in the streets that it quenched the burning of objects upon the ground was a thing which I found to be too much to imagine until I read this part of the account:

"The slaughter within was even more dreadful than the spectacle from without. Men and women, old and young, insurgents and priests, those who fought and those who entreated mercy, were hewn down in indiscriminate carnage. The number of the slain exceeded that of the slayers. The legionaries had to clamber over heaps of dead to carry on the work of extermination."

And this account, when speaking of the destruction of the city itself:

“And truly, the very view itself was a melancholy thing; for those places which were adorned with trees and pleasant gardens, were now become desolate country every way, and its trees were all cut down. Nor could any foreigner that had formerly seen Judaea and the most beautiful suburbs of the city, and now saw it as a desert, but lament and mourn sadly at so great a change. For the war had laid all signs of beauty quite waste. Nor had anyone who had known the place before, had come on a sudden to it now, would he have known it again. But though he [a foreigner] were at the city itself, yet would he have inquired for it.”

A foreigner standing where Jerusalem had stood would have asked, “Where is Jerusalem?”

Another report states that, upon Titus’ return to Rome, he refused to accept a wreath of victory for the fall of Jerusalem, saying that the victory did not come through his own efforts, but that he had merely served as an instrument of God’s wrath. Whether this particular report is true or not, the results certainly bear out the punishment the people had called upon themselves.






















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